Canada transfers an An-124 from Volga-Dnepr to Ukraine
Canada transfers an An-124 from Volga-Dnepr to Ukraine
© Gaétan Powis

| Gaétan Powis | Source : Air&Cosmos 447 mots

Canada transfers an An-124 from Volga-Dnepr to Ukraine

Since February 27, a heavy transport plane Antonov 124-100 of the Russian company Volga-Dnepr is grounded at the Toronto airport. Following new sanctions put in place by Canada, responsibility for the aircraft will be transferred to the Ukrainian authorities. The Volga-Dnepr group is going through a very difficult period, with grounded planes, the obligation to separate 200 pilots,...

New sanctions

Last week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal was on a state visit to North America. On April 16, on his Facebook account, he listed various advances and promises obtained from Canada and the United States. Among them is the confiscation of an An-124 Ruslan. This heavy transport plane, numbered RA-82078, has been at Toronto's Pearson Airport (Canada) since February 27. The Canadian authorities then announced, during the visit of the Ukrainian Prime Minister, the upcoming transfer of the aircraft in question under the responsibility of the Ukrainians.

It should be noted that other sanctions and aid have been taken by the United States and Canada, as specified in the Facebook post of Denys Shmyhal (below). On the aviation side, Boeing is removing various financial obligations of Ukrainian companies, releasing them from a cumulative amount of $200 million.

Closed to the ground for 415 days

On February 27, 2022, Canada, like other countries, announced the total closure of its airspace for Russian aircraft. Since that date, an An-124 Ruslan heavy-lift aircraft, numbered RA-82078 and in the colors of the Russian airline Volga-Dnepr, has been stuck at Toronto's Pearson Airport. In April 2022, following a legal proceeding initiated by Antonov Airlines, the Russian transport plane had then been confiscated by the Canadian authorities.

It should be noted that this aircraft represented a double penalty; in addition to no longer being able to fly, the plane belongs to the airline Volga-Dnepr. This airline specializing in cargo transport is precisely one of the sanctioned Russian companies. Heavily dependent on contracts in Europe and North America, the Russian company has seen serious setbacks as a result of the sanctions;

  • as a result of cancelled contracts, leased aircraft had to be returned,
  • as Ruslan RA-82078 is grounded, it can not be profitable (can not perform transport flights) and in addition, the daily parking costs amount to 1.065.6,
  • following a reinsurance failure involving three BOC Aviation 747-8 freighters, Airbridge Cargo (Volga-Dnepr Group) has been forced to pay a $406.2 million fine (Reuters)
  • AirBridge Cargo and Atran (Volga-Dnepr Group) have notified 200 of their pilots of the end of their contracts in July 2022
  • Airbrdige Cargo and Atran, responsible for Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 transport, suspended operations in March 2022

Cover image is only representative : Volga-Dnepr Group's An-124-100 at Beauvechain Air Base (Wallonia, Belgium) on March 3, 2018.

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